Mr Simon Blyth LX Innovations: Electronics Inventors

Mr RICHARD TORBAY (Northern Tablelands) [6.23 p.m.]: It is often noted that Australians are very good at invention but lack the backing of national commerce and industry to capitalise on it.
By: LX Innovations
July 18, 2010 - PRLog -- Mr RICHARD TORBAY (Northern Tablelands) [6.23 p.m.]: It is often noted that Australians are very good at invention but lack the backing of national commerce and industry to capitalise on it. Recently, I held a meeting in my parliamentary office with just such a young inventor and entrepreneur, Simon Blyth, whose family live at Inverell in my electorate, and who is seeking financial backing for a remarkable invention. Simon, at the age of 23, has won many awards for technology and innovation and with his research partner, Kelly Poole, has just won the State university finals for a new electronic system which could revolutionise our classrooms. They have adapted new Zig Bee technology to produce a system that can give teachers an instant response on their students' comprehension levels during class time. The device which Simon showed me during our talk solves this problem by enabling real-time, anonymous student feedback.

Through this system tutors can assess students' understanding and adapt their teaching style accordingly during lectures and classes. The Dynamic Feedback System [DFS] works through the use of handsets, one per student, and a control panel or base station operated by the teacher or lecturer. The base station gathers all the data from the student devices, processes it and then displays the understanding level of the class to the lecturer. If the class understanding level drops, the lecturer can immediately respond. The DFS can also be used to hold class tests and automatically track student attendance. Students can get their results instantly, and the teachers have no marking, allowing them to focus on more important teaching issues. More importantly, because of the low overheads, teachers can hold regular tests, even a short test before each class in order to ensure students read the material beforehand.

The attendance tracking feature of the DFS is also relevant to the Federal PRISMS policy which requires educational institutions to track overseas student attendance. Because of large lecture sizes, this often does not occur because it is impractical. Universities require an innovative automated approach; otherwise too much lecture time is spent simply marking the roll. We hear all the time about initiatives that will increase literacy and numeracy in our schools. A major concern is the number of students who fall behind without teachers being aware of it or through sheer pressure of class sizes being unable to give the individual attention that is needed at the time it is needed. I can see great potential for the new device and I urge the Minister for Education and Training and members of her department to look at this invention and give their support to it so it receives full financial backing from the commercial sector for its development.

Simon Blyth has an outstanding record of achievement. He was joint dux and captain of Inverell High School and received the Premier's Award for Excellence and the Minister's award for achieving 100 per cent in electronics technology for the Higher School Certificate. While he was at school he played in the Rugby Union First XV and took the lead role in several school musicals. He is a born inventor and started work in a TV and video repair shop in Inverell at the age of 12. During his school holidays he took on work experience in engineering companies to gain more experience. He is a member of the Young Business Forum, Enterprise Network for Young Australians, BizNet Club, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Engineers Australia.

He applied for his first patent at the age of 17 and to date three of his inventions have received national recognition. He is a co-founder and director of Navitas Technologies, a company based around one of his inventions, Virtual Buttonz, and located at the Australian Technology Park. He also won the Nescafe Big-Break competition with his invention to combat driver fatigue. He won the National Shell Science Award and BHP Science Award for his invention VIPER, an ultrasonic guidance system for the visually impaired. He has a further long list of achievements and inventions. Time does not permit me to list them all. Simon won a faculty scholarship to the University of New South Wales to study electrical engineering and physics. He has just graduated and the Dynamic Feedback System I have already mentioned was the subject of his thesis. It has now entered the national university finals, which will be judged in April next year. I congratulate Simon and Kelly and all young inventors for the wonderful contribution they are making.

Private members' statements noted.

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LX Innovations is an electronics design house, specialising in the wireless and low power electronics designs. LX offers clients a range of professional solutions designed to take a new product idea from concept through to production.
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